Ethical compass for leadership in everyday life

The 7th leadership colloquia started with a keynote speech by Annalena Baerbock, the chairwoman of the political Party Alliance90/The Greens.

How can leaders act responsibly in the light of competition, time pressure, shortage and cultural differences? Why are there always unwanted scandals? How can an ethical compass for responsible leadership be developed in everyday life? Decision-makers from 20 leading companies as well as social start-ups dealt with these questions in the 7th leadership colloquium in Wittenberg, which took place from 26 to 28 September 2017 at the WCGE. Together, they pursued the issue of what contributions good leadership can make within increasingly volatile, uncertain, complex and ambivalent conditions – in the so-called “VUKA world”.

The colloquium was opened by Dr. Martin von Broock with a short introduction to the work of the WCGE. The keynote this year was Annalena Baerbock, federal leader of the Green Party, who discussed her own leadership compass as well as her expectations of business leaders in the context of ecological and digital transformation, a design the Greens are currently discussing in their policy statement. In the first part of the colloquium, Prof. Andreas Suchanek (WCGE/HHL Leipzig Graduate School of Management) and Prof. Philipp Schreck (WCGE/MLU Halle – Wittenberg) presented science-based instruments to strengthen the ethical reasoning competence of leaders, with which it is possible to analyze questions of “moral will and purpose” as well as “moral abilities”.
The substance of the second part of the colloquium was an exchange with experts from the practice: Together with Joana Breidenbach, founder of, the participants discussed the thesis that collective leadership requires especially “inner work on oneself” of all people involved. Ethical opportunities and risks of the increasing use of artificial intelligence in human resources management were a major focus of discussions with Sven Semet, HR Thought Leader at IBM. John Morton, Obamas´s former climate advisor, discussed with participants how companies can become pioneers instead of losers of the long-term unstoppable green transformation of the economy, despite short-term business realities.

Based on the gained impulses from science and practice, the participants in the third section developed the premises of their individual ethical compass for good leadership in everyday life. The reflection room created with the Wittenberg Leadership Colloquium, which is away from the daily operations, initiated the opportunity for deep dialogues and mutual learning. This was supported by rotation dinner and similar things, which was gratefully received.

We are looking forward to the continuation of the good conversations at the next alumni meeting of the Wittenberg Leadership Colloquium.